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Defensive breakdowns costly for Privateers


While the weather outside was frightful with an ice storm brewing, the same can be said of the Watertown Privateers on Friday night, particularly their defensive effort.

The Danville Dashers scored four unanswered goals — including three on breakaways — to dispatch the Privateers, 5-3, in a Federal Hockey League clash at Watertown Municipal Arena.

“We seem to take one step forward and then two steps back,” Watertown coach Brad Zangs said.

“It’s was just ridiculous play from our defensemen who were trying to play too much offense,” he added. “We’ve got to take care of the little things, like staying at home and if we played with possession — they don’t get three goals from four breakaways.”

Ryan Stern and Roman Andrejev each scored a short-handed goal to spark the Dashers (6-10), who rallied to move past Watertown (5-11) and back into third place in the circuit.

After the Privateers generated their only lead of the night on Branden Parkhouse’s goal 4 minutes, 30 seconds into the game, Stern struck for his short-handed, breakaway tally at 15:42 to pull the Dashers even at 1-1.

“Those just came from hard work,” Danville assistant coach and player Joe Pace said. “Any time you get a short-handed goal, it’s really going to come from a good bounce and really just moving your feet. Both came off just funny bounces at the blue line and worked out in our favor.”

Danville took the lead for good as Justin Barr took a cross-ice pass from Andrejev and from the right-faceoff ciricle lifted a shot over goalie Matt Anthony 7:57 into the second period.

The Dashers then struck for two breakaway goals within a span of two minutes later in the period to build a three-goal lead.

“Absolutely, it’s disappointing,” Privateers defenseman James Gordon said. “Just the way they scored their goals, we really didn’t make them work for it. Three of them were on breakaways and that really hurt us.”

After Andrejev cruised in and tucked the puck past Anthony for his short-handed tally at 14:09, Brian Soskin followed with a breakaway goal of his own as he moved in alone down the middle.

“Again, we’re giving up too many odd-man rushes and it just wasn’t our night,” Zangs said.

“ ... We’ve got to learn to take care of business first and play all three zones,” he added. “We did that in our last victory, but tonight we didn’t do that.”

“I think that comes from good D-zone coverage,” Pace said of Danville’s breakaway efforts.

“If you’re working hard in the d-zone, good things are going to happen,” Pace added. “And that’s kind of what happened, we got some turnovers and got moving the other way.”

Watertown managed to halt the four-goal run as Andrew Harrison scored 37 seconds into the second period, but Danville answered as Lucas LaBelle scored at 16:05 to restore the three-goal advantage.

Jeromy Semtner stopped 25 of 28 shots to earn the win for the Dashers.

Parkhouse and Harrison each totaled a goal and an assist for Watertown, and Beni Berisha added a goal with 1:19 remaining.

“It’s tough,” Gordon said. “We had more opportunities and we had more scoring chances then them, but we just couldn’t capitalize.”

Matt Anthony allowed five goals on 24 shots for the Privateers.

“Our goaltending has to come up big,” Zangs said.

While Danville was set to brave the conditions on Friday night to travel to play at Danbury tonight in the second leg of a three-games-in-three-nights road trip, the Privateers remain at home and will host the Dayton Demonz at 7:35 tonight.

nNOTES: Danville now leads the season series, 4-2 ... Forward Nick Sheehan made his Privateers debut. ... With Watertown team captain Kris McCarthy out with an injury, Chase Tippin wore the “C” but suffered a hip injury. ... The FHL announced another Privateers game has been moved to a neutral site as Watertown’s home game against Danville will be played in Connellsville, Pa., on the same day at 7:05 p.m. Earlier in the week, the league which said it “is seeking to expand its footprint and develop new markets,” announced Watertown’s home game against Dayton on Saturday, March 1 will be played in Winston-Salem, N.C., on the same date.

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